Group Wants Papers on Priest

By Joe Gyan
The Advocate
June 16, 2010

Members of a support group for people abused by religious authority figures handed out fliers Saturday outside a Catholic church on the LSU campus about a former Baton Rouge area priest who allegedly molested altar boys.

Eight members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, stood at the intersection of Dalrymple Drive and Highland Road in front of Christ the King Parish and Catholic Center at LSU and passed out 200 fliers to motorists and walkers.

The fliers pertained to lawsuits pending in state District Court in Baton Rouge against former priest Christopher Springer and the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge.

SNAP is upset because documents the diocese turned over to District Judge Wilson Fields last fall have not been given to attorneys for the former altar boys who filed the suits.

The suits allege the abuse by Springer occurred between 1968 and 1980.

"Don't the people of Baton Rouge deserve the truth? That's what we're looking for — the truth," Barbara Dorris, of St. Louis, victims outreach director of Chicago-based SNAP, said as she stood on a sidewalk along Dalrymple.

The fliers urge people to call the Baton Rouge Diocese and demand the release of documents concerning Springer.

Lyn Hayward Taylor, of Covington, who formed SNAP's Louisiana branch in 2003, said the Baton Rouge Diocese should not be fighting the release of Springer's personnel records.

"They will do anything to keep it in the courts and out of public notice," she charged.

Former altar boys have claimed they were abused by Springer while he was working as a Redemptorist or diocesan priest at St. Gerard Majella and St. Pius X, both in Baton Rouge; St. Mary's of False River; Pointe Coupee Church; Our Lady of the Assumption in Clinton; Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Slidell; and St. Alphonsus Parish in New Orleans.

Charles Bishop, a plaintiff in one of the suits, came out to the Dalrymple/Highland intersection in support of the SNAP members.

Bishop urged Fields to "catch up with the rest of the country" about releasing documents involving alleged pedophile priests.

SNAP says that Springer now works and lives at a retirement community in Pearl River.

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